×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bob Bakish Talks Consolidation, Working With Streamers

Bob Bakish batted away questions about a potential merger with CBS on Tuesday and instead doubled down on his strategy for growing Viacom, talking up Paramount’s TV production business and revealing that MTV is making a soon-to-be-announced reality show for one of the major streamers.

Bakish, speaking at the Royal Television Society London Conference, would not directly address a potential CBS-Viacom merger but acknowledged “there is a quest for scale” in the media business. He said Viacom was focused on its own growth plan and creating scale organically. “Where I sit today, we have a very clear path to value creation ahead of us,” he said, adding: “There is a lot of exciting road ahead without consolidation.”

He spoke extensively about protecting Viacom’s traditional linear TV business while also capitalizing on new opportunities with its own streaming services, and in providing content to the likes of Netflix and Amazon. MTV is making a reality show for a major streamer, Bakish said, and Paramount Television will go from producing nine shows in 2018 to 16 next year, shifting from a $400-million to a $600-million operation, on its way to becoming a billion-dollar business. The ramp-up is fueled by the growth of the streamers, although they do not share performance stats, he said.

“That rise is driven at least partly by the SVOD players,” he said. “A show like ‘13 Reasons Why’ continues to apparently get a lot of usage on Netflix. I say ‘apparently,’ because no one really knows.”

Bakish said Viacom does not want to “create another Netflix,” which is hugely capital-intensive, preferring to grow its own niche services. He noted the global expansion of SVOD services and said he expects Hulu to grow internationally. “Hulu continues to be a significant player in the U.S., and now my understanding is they are going to expand into Latin America,” he said.

Viacom and CBS explored a merger earlier this year, before talks stalled. With the departure of CBS chief Les Moonves following allegations of harassment, an outspoken opponent of a merger has been removed, but Viacom and CBS controlling shareholder National Amusements has agreed in a new settlement not to propose a merger for two years. The companies themselves could pursue a deal, however, and Bakish would be considered a strong candidate to head a newly combined operation.

More TV

  • CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA

    'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Renewed for Seasons 3 and 4 at Netflix

    Netflix has ordered two more seasons of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” The streamer has ordered another 16 episodes of the series, which will be split into two parts like Season 1 and 2. Season 3 and 4 will begin production in 2019. Season 2 is set to premiere April 5, 2019. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” imagines [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    How The Rolling Stones' 'She’s a Rainbow' Got a Seven-Figure Synch Renaissance

    As far as Rolling Stones chart hits go, “She’s A Rainbow” is more of a cult favorite in the band’s canon, just missing the Top 40 of Mick Jagger’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits of all time. But by 2018 standards, it’s suddenly become a smash — based on how many high-profile sync placements the [...]

  • David Schwimmer to Star in New

    David Schwimmer to Star in New Sky Comedy Series ‘Intelligence’

    David Schwimmer will play a power-hungry NSA agent relocated to the U.K. in “Intelligence,” a new six-part comedy series for Sky in Britain. Schwimmer is best known to British audiences for his role as Ross in “Friends,” but was recently in the news after British police posted a video of a suspected thief who seemed [...]

  • Fiona Campbell Named Controller of BBC

    BBC Names Fiona Campbell as New Head of Online Channel BBC Three

    The BBC has named Fiona Campbell the new boss of its youth-skewing online channel, BBC Three, replacing outgoing controller Damian Kavanagh, who is leaving in the new year to run Endemol Shine-owned producer Tiger Aspect. Campbell has been heading up the documentary unit at BBC Studios, the U.K. pubcaster’s production division. She also worked at BBC Three [...]

  • Rüdiger Böss, ProSiebenSat.1's Longtime Hollywood Buyer,

    Rüdiger Böss, ProSiebenSat.1's Longtime Buyer in Hollywood, to Leave the Company

    Rüdiger Böss, who as head buyer for ProSiebenSat.1 negotiated the German broadcast giant’s deals with U.S. studios for many years, is leaving after more than a quarter of a century at the company. Böss is a well-known figure in the international TV business and a familiar face at major events and markets. ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Conrad [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Romantic Comedy

    Rebel Wilson to Star in Australian Drama Series 'Les Norton'

    Rebel Wilson and David Wenham will star in Australian drama series “Les Norton.” Adapted from the novels of Robert G. Barrett, the show is presented by The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen Australia. Set in 1985, the series will follow the exploits of a country bloke from outback Queensland, played by rising star Alexander Bertrand [...]

  • Korea's CJ ENM Acquires Scandinavian Sales

    South Korea's CJ ENM Acquires Scandinavian Sales Company Eccho Rights

    South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM has acquired a majority stake in Stockholm-based rights-management and sales company Eccho Rights. A leading entertainment and merchandising company in Asia, CJ ENM will give Eccho Rights the resources to expand its global footprint across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Eccho Rights has offices in Stockholm, Istanbul, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content